The inclusion of a workshop, on 20th June, led by the Jewish National Fund, an organisation which has been implicated in human rights abuses in Israel / Palestine, has led to protests at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Earth Summit, Rio+20).
The Jewish National Fund (JNF) exists for the purpose of obtaining Palestinian land for exclusive use by Jews. The organisation has collaborated in the eviction of Palestinians from their homes, the destruction of villages and the denial of return of refugees, frequently planting trees to conceal the remains of the houses which have been destroyed. It has established ‘parks’ and ‘forests’ as a means of making the Palestinian landscape look more European. The JNF played a crucial role in the Nakba (catastrophe) in 1947-49, which made 750,000 Palestinians into refugees who have been denied the right to return. It continues to evict Bedouin villages in the Negev desert where it is growing trees by diverting water from the Israeli occupied West Bank.
At the UN conference, the JNF, along with the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, is offering a workshop on water conservation and land management in arid regions, as part of the 20 year anniversary of the first ‘Earth Summit’ in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Eurig Scandrett from Stop the JNF UK commented:
“This land and water has been stolen from the Palestinian people. The JNF manages Palestinian land in order to drive the Palestinian people off. The water which they are supposedly managing comes from the Jordan River in the West Bank or the underground aquifers which Palestinians are denied access to. This workshop is pure greenwash from the racist JNF.”
Sara Kershnar of International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network said:
“It is ironic that the Israeli government is lobbying to exclude the Palestinian Authority from the summit whilst at the same time contributing workshops on how they manage Palestinian land and water which they have stolen.”
Stop the JNF is an international campaign established by Palestinian Civil Society, Palestine solidarity groups and International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. The campaign aims to expose and prevent the JNF’s involvement in ethnic cleansing, apartheid and Zionist colonisation in Palestine. www.stopthejnf.org . Information on how the JNF uses environmental claims to mask its participation in human rights abuses is available in ‘Greenwashing Apartheid: The Jewish National Fund’s Environmental Coverup’ at http://stopthejnf.org/documents/JNFeBookVol4.pdf
As a contribution to Rio + 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the JNF, in conjunction with the Israeli Department of Agriculture, are advertising a workshop “Water harvesting and afforestation as a means to rehabilitate degraded lands” on Wednesday 20th June at 4.30 – 7.30 pm (20.30 – 22.30 BST). http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php?page=view&type=700&nr=70&menu=23
Stop the JNF UK Sofiah Macleod + (44) 7931200361 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Stop the JNF (environment) Eurig Scandrett + (44) 7799311059 (email@example.com)
Stop the JNF USA/Canada Sara Kershnar + (1) 510 685 5347 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop the Wall), Jamal Juma + (970) 598921821